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Brutes by Dizz Tate


Brutes by Dizz Tate
UK Publication: February 2023
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Faber (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

One word review – Brutal

Synopsis from Goodreads: The Virgin Suicides meets The Florida Project in this wildly original debut–a coming-of-age story about the crucible of girlhood, from a writer of rare and startling talent

We would not be born out of sweetness, we were born out of rage, we felt it in our bones.

In Falls Landing, Florida–a place built of theme parks, swampy lakes, and scorched bougainvillea flowers–something sinister lurks in the deep. A gang of thirteen-year-old girls obsessively orbit around the local preacher’s daughter, Sammy. She is mesmerizing, older, and in love with Eddie. But suddenly, Sammy goes missing. Where is she? Watching from a distance, they edge ever closer to discovering a dark secret about their fame-hungry town and the cruel cost of a ticket out. What they see will continue to haunt them for the rest of their lives

Through a darkly beautiful and brutally compelling lens, Dizz Tate captures the violence, horrors, and manic joys of girlhood. Brutes is a novel about the seemingly unbreakable bonds in the we of young friendship, and the moment it is broken forever.

My Thoughts: Having previously read the Virgin Suicides I totally get the comparison. The story is narrated by a chorus of 13 year old girls who are largely on the outside of the central event but whose lives are impacted by it none the less.

While I really enjoyed the sections set in the past, the year Sammy goes missing, the later glimpses into how the lives of the girls have turned out did nothing for me, in fact some of the later lives left me thinking WTF went on there.

The early story is mesmerising and told in a very opaque way this reader did not see events clearly until eventually everything king of comes together but even then there are still questions about what actually went on.

I loved the way the Florida setting really pulled me into the story and the bleak outlook the girls have felt very real and visceral. Teenage girls are not all sweetness and light (I should know I was one) and this book really showcases how they can be Brutes.

Some favourite quotes:

“We refused to be cordial. We would not be born out of sweetness, we were born out of rage, we felt it in our bones.”

“I have always loved breaking glass. It is so easy to do that it is like the glass wants to break. It wants to be free. It wants to be a thousand flecks of shrieking glitter, announcing an entrance, a star of the show.”

“Broken men inspire longing. Broken women are just looking to get kicked further down the drain.”

Who would like this? I would recommend this to fans of The Virgin Suicides and for those who enjoy and interesting story with largely unlikeable characters but a compelling setting.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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